Montesano City Hall is celebrating its 100th birthday on May 6.
Mayor Ken Estes issued a proclamation recently declaring this week as Centennial Week for the Montesano City Hall, honoring “the architecture and style of the building” which “still reflects the efficiency, durability and attractiveness” these so many years later.
The proclamation also honors “the citizens who funded, the designers, the builders, the employees who ever worked here and the citizens of our community whom we served.”
An article in The Vidette at the time shows that the dedication for the City Hall, also known as the Fire Department Building, was done on Wednesday, May 6, 1914. There had been a desire to do the dedication a week earlier, but there was an argument between the firefighters and city officials as to the exact festivities.
“The culmination of one of the greatest achievements in Montesano’s history came Wednesday evening when the new Fire Department building was formally dedicated to the use of the public and the doors thrown open to the inspection of the hundreds of people who attended,” The Vidette wrote in the May 8, 1914 edition.
About 600 people attended the dedication.
The building cost $17,279, according to a report of the treasurer read by Judge Mason Irwin at the event. At the time of the dedication, there was still an additional $212 due.
“In addition to the the statement, a supplemental report since the treasurer’s statement was compiled shows an additional subscription of $212, which does away with the deficit entirely, leaving only the $10,000 loan against the building.” The loan was expected to be paid back by the firefighters before the 10-year time was even expired, The Vidette reported, crediting the firefighters with “managing their finances so well.”
The Vidette credited W.H. Abel and J. Patterson of Aberdeen with agreeing to paying the leftover debt.
The Eagles agreed to move upstairs and pay rent, which made the building possible.
During the dedication, stories about firefighters were told, including one time when H.B. Marcy, C.N. Wilson and W. H. Bush “all rushed through a door, all at the same time, and became wedged in so tightly that great efforts were required to save them from the flames.”
Both Mayor S.S. Morse and former mayor Eldridge Wheeler spoke at the dedication, which also included a vocal solo by Harry PIckering and a violin solo from “Il Trovatore” by Mrs. Earl Michaels. An orchestra also performed “Love and Glory.”
“The building just dedicated is a splendid municipal structure,” The Vidette reported. “It is build after the old mission type of architecture, of reinforced concrete of blanket wall and pilaster construction with pilasters every 12 feet. The base dimensions are 120 by 50 feet. The roof is of tile, the light red of which harmonizes well with the cream body and brown trimmings of the walls and cornices of the building. …
“The interior finish of the building throughout is beautifully grained fir, stained dark. The building is well-lighted with handsome brass fixtures. On each side of the main entrance are sanitary drinking fountains. The city council has purchased two, cluster light columns and these are installed on the street at each end of the building.”
A walking history at City Hall notes that the building was badly damaged in a July 1919 fire and scarred rafters can still be seen in the attic. The City Hall has undergone two major renovations — once in 1979, when the fire hall was moved to Pioneer and Sylvia Street, and another time in the 1980s.